Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Hi friends. Just want to tell you I'm GIVING away a custom made sign over at the adorable Ruthie Hart's - Chronicles of Ruthie.

Something like this...

Like my kitty hehe?

I'm currently working on a sign that is SO cute. I can't wait to show you and add it to the shop. 

 Even if you hate my signs (I hope you don't) go check out Ruthie's blog she is seriously so cute and I can't forget her best bud Ernie! 

I think from now til the new year I will be doing a giveaway hoping to giveaway five. Also I'll be running some hot deals in the shop so make sure you check those out.

Happy Holidays.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Job {ish}

Before I moved and became a Mrs. I was nannying those two sweet children. Now that I am in Alabama some days I feel lost. Not lost because I don't love it there but because I don't have an employer that I have to report to each day. I won't say this is how it HAS to be, but if I want to be able to spend any time with  my husband the first year of our marriage, this is how I want it to be. 

As much as this is how I want it to be, it isn't easy. So I decided to start my own small business,again. I feel like I am failing I've tried several times. None the less I start the process again.  I think, and think, and think what I can create for my shop that everyone else isn't. I think about this in the car. I wonder antique shops for ideas. I browse Pinterest. I lay awake at night thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. I let it own me. GAH GET OUT OF MY HEAD BRAINSTORMING! When I moved and went through all this craft stuff and seen all the things I've created I couldn't help but wonder why can't I build a small business. Talk about depressing.

So..I started (another) Etsy shop {laurendarlings} a week before the wedding. I create hand painted wooden signs. I love making them but I can't hang them all in our home. There is too many.  At this point I haven't made any sales, just created gifts for friends and family.

I'm not trying to become a millionaire - ha, I would've hung it up long ago. The thing I love about creating for people is building relationships, making new friends, and making unique customized products exactly like YOU want them. Not a stock item that there are hundrerds of copies just the same as yours.

Taking the leap of faith is hard. You want people to love your products as much as you love making them. It doesn't work like that though. The internet is SO huge these days and although barriers to entry are low to becoming and Etsy shop owner, its about creating something that people need or want, find affordable, good quality, and stands out from the rest. Need I add that today's economy is not in its greatest form, but don't let that get you down cause thats always an unknown.

So what I was getting at was that  I'm not giving up. No way, I'll do whatever it takes. I finally have the time to create and make things I love and I'm not a quitter. All I wanted to do was document how frustrated it is getting started so I can look back and remember - hey thats where I started. Thats where we all start when we are chasing a dream. For some its easier. Others it takes years and years of work.

What I'm asking from you (pretty please) is what would you like to see go up in my shop? I'm open for ANY and ALL ideas and I'll do my best to create something you'll love. I can do personalized wedding gifts. Gifts and decor for baby nurseries and childrens rooms. Holiday decor. Home decor. You let me know what you want. Please. 

Finally, if you are interested in doing a giveaway on YOUR blog of one custom made sign email me at After all it is the season of giving.

1 Peter 4:10 
Each one should use whatever gift he has recieved to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This was Brandon and I's first Thanksgiving together ever. We stayed in Alabama with his family. The four ladies helped pitch in for an amazing meal and desserts. I was prego with a food baby. YUM! Twins actually. 

After lunch we decided to start shooting guns. You read that right, we shot guns. If you've never shot a gun well, I can't explain it. Exhilirating. Challenging. Liberating. Anyways we spent the afternoon wasting bullets and I'll just go ahead and tell you now I'm a pretty good shot. 

That was about the extent of our Thanksgiving  then we headed back to the house and I concluded the day by cleaning and organizing the bathroom at nine o'clock at night.  Its been driving me bonkers since I moved in and NONE of my stuff was put away. I can't do clutter and I couldn't take it one more day. Plus I love coming home to a clean and organized house. 

We are sloooowly getting things put away, cleaned, and organized. I feel like we will be doing this for a while though. 

I was thankful to spend the day with people I love. Other things I'm thankful for: family including my husband, God, faith, friends, love, craft supplies, food, our home, Mountain Dew, internet, pinterest, our freedom, troops fighting for  country, baseball, cell phones, clothes on my back, my amazing parents, my siblings, children, education, running water, my new business, this blog, all the people I've met through this blog and so much more. 

Although this is a time of year we are reminded to talk about what we are thankful for, let us be thankful each and everyday. 

Gift Guide - Quality Time

There is a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I was introduced to this book before my husband and I knew each other. I read it and as soon as I was finished realized just exactly why my previous relationships hadn't worked out. I had been speaking the wrong love language and so had they. 

The love languages are:

Quality Time
Words of Affirmation  
Receiving Gifts  
Physical Touch  
Acts of Service 

I've decided to share some of my own ideas for gifts based on the five love languages.

Quality Time

Easily described as undivided attention. How often do you make sure this quality time is spent together? Once a week. Once a month. Once a year. This takes effort to make it happen. I'm not saying it's easy. It's time to put down your phone or better yet turn it off. In fact, turn off all electronics or distractions. Engage in one another and a conversation.

Gift Ideas

 These aren't ideas for gifts you can go buy in a store. They are homemade coupons. 

1) The Red Card -  Think soccer. If the red card is pulled - electronics go off. Time to drop everything your doing and spend time together. I suggest something other than movies because this doesn't really allow for much interaction. Maybe work on a house project together or hit up the driving range. Use the red card for quality time only. Set boundaries or rules to go along with the Red Card.

2) The DD. DD = Dinner Date, with a twist. Make dinner together. Pinterest offers TONS of ideas for recipes. Pick out your favorites and get to cooking. If you have wait time play a game of twenty questions.

3) The Fitness Friendsy. Hit the gym together. Now you have someone to sit on your feet for sit ups, toss the medicine ball with, or race next to you on the treadmill. Make it a challenge, everyone loves a friendly wager. 

For HIM: If Quality Time is HIS language

4)The Man Date. Be his best buddy girls. Hunting. Golfing. Hoop Shooting. Football Tossing. They might not ALWAYS want you along and you may not ALWAYS want to go but if they've ever hinted they want your company - here's your chance. Maybe your his caddy, his cheerleader or watergirl but together you'll have a good time. 

For HER: If Quality time is HER language

5) The Grocery Getter. Go with her grocery shopping. Ladies get excited when they have a shopping partner or when they don't have to go at all, but we won't push it, so just go with her. Together you can pick out new foods to try and he can push the cart.

6) The MAN-icure. I know many guys will use any of the others above but just in case you really messed up or just need a really great gift this is the coupon for you. Offer up a mani or pedi. Don't doubt yourself that you can't do it. Its about the quality time spent together. If all she gets out of it is a foot rub you still won her over. 

Key to remember. Undivided attention = quality time. 

Not sure if this is your love language? Grab a copy and in the meantime stay tuned for the rest of the languages. Make sure that you pass along this one of a kind gift guide if this is your love language. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Today is small business Saturday. What's that mean? It means you should go support all those handmade online shops that have unique adorable affordable goods. They might be small businesses but these ladies have HUGE hearts and are full of passion for their products and creating unique gifts. I admire each and everyone of them and can't wait to do some shopping. Here are some of my favorites.

alanainlove - hand painted adorable sayings

mallorieowens - hippie headbands and music

nest of posies - custom totes and scarves

goodnight moon - all kinds of goodness

rags to stitches - snuggies for your favorite electronics

little miss momma - affordable couture accessories and home decor

oliveblue - babies & ladies boutique

laurendarlings - custom hand painted wood signs

Happy shopping. You can thank me later!

I did not ask for permission for any of the shop headers. 
I apologize in advance to any of the owners if they are uspet. Thanks - Lauren

Friday, November 25, 2011


There is this thing that boys do. It's weird and girls try to understand it. The get all dressed up and disappear for the weekend. They usually take coolers and come home after a weekend away expecting food on the table.


I was first introduced to this concept about six years ago when my little brother started hunting with a bow. I thought it was cruel and disgusting.

Fast forward three years or so. 

Brandon and I first began talking through Facebook. Immediately after he confirmed me as a friend I began stalking his photos (yes I am slightly ashamed but looking at them now still reminds me of that time) and I came across this.


As a kid, I used to hide in the van when we visited our property because I didn't like the woods, bugs, outdoors, sticks, etc. I am not a city girl by any means or a country girl. I consider myself a tweener.  As I stared at the photos of him dressed head to toe in camoflauge I remember uttering the words to one of my fellow interns, "He is SUCH a country boy." Then I became aware  of my thoughts thinking knowing I had no intentions of ever becoming a hunteress.

Fast forward another year.

I went on my first hunting excursion with the boyfriend last winter, but not a minute before I passed a hunter saftey course.  Although sitting in a class with a hundred others dressed with at least one article of clothing didn't really bring me comfort. I was not dressed in any camo. 

That week at five in the morning I am awakened and quickly dress in my hunting garb. Oversized pants that aren't mine, boots similar to UGGs, a camo hat, and of course my flourescent orange. Hot!! Not so much, I felt like a clown.

Besides being somewhat chilly, I really enjoyed our breakfast of Little Debbie chocolate donuts and Yoohoo. Then the waiting began. And more waiting. And more. I'll skip the details but when we saw that deer step out of the woods my heart began pounding. Then the gun shot. I took a second to take it all in sort of freaked out. I adjusted. The coolest part was seeing how excited Brandon got.  It was just like a kid in a candy store.

Fast forward one more time to last week. 

View from our shooting house infested with spiders.

I get drug along hunting again in the rain. I went last year a few times, saw what it was all about, and would rather stayed at home crafting. I thought I paid my dues. But it was an overnight hunting trip and he didn't want to leave me home alone. So I gave in. (Help earn some good wife points early in the marriage and while we don't have children). I skipped the morning hunt to cook breakfast and stay warm, plus I was not feeling good at all. Then we set out in the afternoon. 

Two of us up in a tree, twenty feet off the ground on a windy day, not my cup of tea. How did he get me to do this. Why am I here. This is such a waste of time. Is that a bug crawling on me. Well I had about a thirty minutes of negative thoughts like that. Then I started to appreciate it for what it was. Time with Brandon, just Brandon. Something that we lack during the eight months of baseball season. 

Moral of the story. Do things for others just because they want to share with you what they love. Do these things because you'll look back one day and regret you never did them. Do things to create memories because thats what life is all about. Do these things because maybe you'll end up liking them too. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Settling In .. A little something while you wait..

A lot has changed and I'm still settling in. I often find the urge to write and some pretty deep posts if that. For some reason I just can't get them out of my head and onto my blog. So here are some random things that don't require much work.

-The first week of marriage has been great! I've definitely used the new refrigerator and stove to confirm the new Mr. that his purchases were a) necessary, b)appreciated, c) very beneficial to him.

-I could probably get just about ANYTHING done if I blare LMFAO. Don't judge please, it just gets me pumped up and motivated. Plus who doesn't love running around yelling, " I'm sexy and I know it." Confidence booster right there. 

-My craft room (also the hunting room) is in working form now, although I've taken over the dining room table instead. Defeat the purpose much? 

-To get to 'town' ( Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Wal-Mart) its a 25 minute drive. 

-I'm working on some new larger (11x14) wooden signs for the Holidays. I love them. Check out Instagram on your iphone for sneak peeks - larnlevy

That's all I've got an update of what I've been doing. My wedding photos have arrived so hopefully before Christmas I can get some of those up for you to see. Hope you all have a great, busy, productive week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Its me, Mrs. D - A Wedding Preview

Hello my lovelies its me Mrs. D! I know some of you are anxious for wedding goodness galore, and you will get that, it just may take me a while to get you the entire story.  Here you can find see a few of the professional photos.  I love them all already! Today I'm showing you a few of my favorites I picked out that friends and family took. There is actually a TON more I love, but I think there will be time for those later on.

We are so unbelievably blessed with the way our wedding turned out. We can't even begin to thank all our family and friends who joined us in our celebration! Maybe we'll take you to one of our two timeshares we bought this past week in Cabo...(just kidding but I can't wait to tell you about this!)

Also we just got back from our honeymoon today and we had quite a good time. We felt like kids on vacation for the first time and I can't wait to share some photos and videos of our adventures there. 

As we settle into our new home as husband and wife we have TONS of stuff to do around the house which makes me giddy and sick at the same time cause I don't know how we will get it done before we move again in twelve weeks, not that I'm counting.

Anyways I'm SO glad to be back and hope to share our wedding story with you as soon as I can. Enjoy some photos for now.